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Ukraine Crisis: Blinken to Visit Kyiv, Then Meet Russian Foreign Minister

Russia said after the “very disappointing” security talks last week that it would wait for the U.S. and NATO to provide written responses to its demands before deciding how to move forward.
Ukraine crisis: Blinken to visit Kyiv, then meet Russian foreign minister
Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Axios

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Friday, following a trip to Kyiv to reinforce U.S. support for Ukraine in the face of a possible Russian invasion, according to a senior U.S. official.

Why it matters: The meeting with Lavrov suggests a diplomatic resolution to the crisis may still be on the table, despite the collapse of security talks between Russia and the West last week.

  • “The fact that Foreign Minister Lavrov and the Secretary are meeting on Friday says to me that diplomacy is not dead,” as the Russians suggested last week, a senior State Department official told reporters on Tuesday.
  • NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has also invited Russia and all NATO members to a new set of meetings, stressing on Tuesday: “When tensions are high, dialogue is even more important.”

Driving the news: Blinken will meet on Wednesday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as officials at the U.S. embassy to discuss contingency planning.

  • He’ll then travel to Berlin to meet German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and attend a meeting of the “Transatlantic Quad” — France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S.
  • The State Department said Blinken’s trip is intended to reinforce the U.S. commitment to Ukraine’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity,” and is part of the administration’s diplomatic efforts to seek de-escalation and ensure a “united approach” to Russia.

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